The Arab world is known for their love and excessive use of proverbs; however, when you try to translate them into English they mean something totally different. Here are 17 of the most famous Egyptian proverbs literally translated into English and what they originally mean.
1- Al Tikrar Yialem Al Humar: التكرار يعلّم الحمار
Translation: Repetition teaches the donkey.
Meaning: Practice makes perfect.
2- Al Erd Fi Ein Omo Ghazal: القرد في عين أمه غزال
Translation: The monkey is as beautiful as a gazelle in his mother’s eyes.
Meaning: When you love someone, you will always see them perfect.
3- El Yetleseea Min El Shorba Yonfokh Fil Zabadi: للي يتلسع من الشوربة ينفخ في الزبادي
Translation: He who burns his tongue from soup will blow in yogurt.
Meaning: If you had a bad experience once, you will be extra cautious next time.
4- Labess El Boosa Tebaa Arousa: لبس البوصة، تبقى عروسة
Translation: Dressing up a stick turns it into a doll.
Meaning: Anyone can look good with the right clothes.
5- Ebn El Wezz Awwamm: ابن الوزّ عوّام
Translation: The son of a goose is a swimmer.
Meaning: Like father, like son.
6- Neoul Tur Yeoolo Ehlebooh: نقول طور يقولو احلبوه
Translation: We say it’s a bull, they say milk it.
Meaning: When you talk to someone who can’t understand you and can’t see your logic.
7- Dokhool El Hamam Meesh Zay Khoroogo: دخول الحمّام مش زي خروجه
Translation: Entering a bathroom isn’t like leaving it.
Meaning: It’s not easy getting out of tricky situations.
8- Haga Tehraa El Dam: حاجة تحرق الدم
Translation: Something that burns the blood.
Meaning: Used to express something that is really frustrating or someone who is being very difficult.
9- Eza Kan Habeebak Assal Matakloush Kollo: اذا كان حبيبك عسل، ماتلحسوش كله
Translation: If your lover is honey, don’t lick it all.
Meaning: Don’t take advantage of someone who loves you or someone who is being nice to you.
10- Del El Kalb Omro Mayetedel: ديل الكلب عمره مايتعدل
Translation: The dog’s tail will never be straight.
Meaning: A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
11- El Aql Zeena: العقل زينة
Translation: The mind is decoration.
Meaning: Your mind is what makes you beautiful.
12- El Kidb Maloosh Reglein: الكذب ملوش رجلين
Translation: Lying has no legs
Meaning: The truth always comes out.
13- Yesoom Yesoom W Yeftar Ala Bassala: يصوم يصوم و يفطر على بصلة
Translation: He fasts and fasts and then feasts on an onion.
Meaning: Used to express disappointment in something that was expected to be great.
14- Temoot El Raqasa W Westaha Beylaab: تموت الراقصة ووسطها بيلعب
Translation: The dancer dies and her waist is still moving.
Meaning: Old habits never die or some people will never change
15- Mafish Halawa Min Gheir Nar: مافيش حلاوة من غير نار
Translation: There is no sweetness without fire.
Meaning: Nothing good comes easy.
16- El Bab El Yegeelak Mino El Reeh Sedo W Estareeh: الباب اليجيلك منو الريح سدو وستريح
Translation: Close the door that brings the wind and relax.
Meaning: Block whatever is causing you stress in your life and don’t deal with it.
17- Weshak Nahs: وشك نحس
Translation: Your face is jinx.
Meaning: When someone brings bad fortune to you every time you see them.